Five Things that Good Blogging and Good Campaigning Have in Common

I was elected to my first public office this year, and was the top vote-getter in a race against three well-known opponents in Amherst, Ohio. Believe it or not, the lessons I’ve learned in becoming a successful blogger helped me run an effective City Council campaign.

Many of the qualities that make a great blog can also make for great political campaigning. Hard work, smart planning and effective networking are just a few of the strategies that both bloggers and politicians use to blaze a trail to success.

Here are five rules I’ve followed in launching a successful blog that also translated into winning votes on the campaign trail. Whether you’re a blogger or a political candidate, you can use these same tactics to help guarantee your own victory.

1. Generate Credibility

As a blogger, you want your visitors to see you as a credible and experienced authority on the subject you specialize in. Without an air of credibility, it’s much more difficult to build a wide-reaching subscriber base and repeat traffic. By blogging about things you’re personal familiar with, you’ll quickly amass a large audience of readers who are eager to learn.

Credibility is perhaps even more important in political campaigns. If voters don’t see you as a qualified and credible candidate for the office you’re seeking, you aren’t likely to get much support. When broadcasting your message to voters, it’s important to focus on the reasons why you’re suited for the job.

2. Practice Sincerity

There aren’t many more durable cliches than that of the insincere politician. By only focusing on issues that you’re passionate and sincere about, you’ll both surprise voters and garner a lot of support.

The same goes for blogging. If you aren’t providing your readers with sincere and genuine content, they probably won’t come back for more. Although you can find short-term success by focusing on subjects that you aren’t acquainted with or enthusiastic about, the ruse isn’t likely to last long.

3. Make Your Content Relevant

If your blog centers on the subject of affiliate marketing, you probably won’t maintain a very large audience if every other post is about gardening. While occasional diversions are sometimes fun for your readers, they won’t stick around unless you consistently provide them with content they’re interested in.

In politics, a the same applies to campaign literature and advertising. If you’re running for city council, the voters don’t want to hear about your opinions on nuclear proliferation or immigration. They want to know your views on topics that are relevant to them: street repair, tax rates, business retention and other local issues.

4. Personalize Your Efforts

Blogs are inevitably more successful if individual readers feel that you are personally talking to them in every post. Responding to every email, interacting with readers who leave comments, and thanking other bloggers when they link back to you are all time-consuming practices that pay back large dividends.

Personalization is also remarkably effective in political campaigning. For my city council race, I filled out hand-written postcards to 3,000 residents reminding them to vote and thanking them for their support. It took nearly half a year to complete, but many voters appreciated getting a hand-written note from a candidate.

5. Implement Web Technology and Social Media

This is common-sense for bloggers, but some of us could stand to explore more options for promoting content through social media and emerging web technology.

Becoming comfortable with a static blog layout and only a few social media resources is dangerous for a blogger. Instead, keep updated on new methods that other bloggers are using to promote their sites, and don’t be afraid to change.

In politics, effectively integrating web technology and social media into your campaign can be a game-changer. While not the only factor in my campaign’s success, a good website and social media promotion helped me raise more money and generate more local interest than I would have otherwise.

Phil Van Treuren blogs about political campaign strategy.


28 thoughts on “Five Things that Good Blogging and Good Campaigning Have in Common”

  1. Umer Hayat says:

    Surely a great post with nice thoughts.

    I beleive that these are the exact things as you said. If you wrote this post few years back and add that social media point in it. I’ll surely disagree with you but now I think this is the most important and crucial point.:)

    Anyway thanks for your good work

    1. nada says:

      i think John has a vision for his future

  2. Kajanova says:

    Good tips. Relevance in content and credibility are definitely important traits every blogger wants to have.

    1. Hmm, never thought you could relate campaigning to blogging to make money.

      1. We do campaign our blog for sure. The money will come after our blog campaign is success.

    2. nada says:

      we need to focus and write about anything we knew

  3. Link to your profile as a new city councillor?

  4. Chris Hughes says:

    Great post John, creating credibility is by far one of the most important things that a blog can do for a business or an individual.

    The other thing that stands out to me is personalization and this is very important. Everyone is different and blogging allows us to be ourselves and share our experiences with others better than anything else.

    Would you recommend sharing funny little videos of yourself as well as more professional videos in order to share yourself more with your audience? I’m stuck on deciding to only create profession videos but I really want people to learn who I am outside of these professional videos as well.

    Thanks and great post!

    Chris Hughes

    1. nada says:

      agree with you
      a blog is kind of our CV

  5. in my opinion, we as blogger always do campaign for our blog so our blog can gain success in blogosphere.

  6. Kevin Pasco says:

    It’s very natural for me to practice all of these with out thinking. Maybe it’s the way my parents raised me but I’m like that in person anyways.

    I think there’s a lot to work on though. I could always be improving on my blog and the way I write/design it.

    Thanks for the post, John. You’ve kept my eyes wide awake.

  7. Congratulations, Phil! What would you consider your top 5 social media channels for political ROI?

  8. Tinh says:

    Relevant content is the key I think

    1. Benjamin Cip says:

      it’s logic, isn’t it?

  9. Parrish says:

    Make Your Content Relevant. This is so true. I was just thinking of how many pointless blogs I have come across.

  10. Earningstep says:

    content will always be the king and promote is the queen

  11. Donny Gamble says:

    I like the one about practicing sincerity because that is just what someone who is running for office does. Most of the time they fake being genuine and sincere just to get people to vote for them

  12. Business savvy is a big contributor to succeeding as a blogger. No doubt those same set of skills can help you do almost anything, even run a great campaign.

  13. Dean Saliba says:

    Wel done Phil on being elected to the council. And welll done on a good interesting post.

  14. John Chow for president! I never knew you had political aspirations John, and am pleased to hear of your successful campaign for the Amherst city council. All the best, and may you bring about positive change and prove top be a true servant to the people!

    1. Do you ever read the whole post? And do you know that John actually lives in Canada? Means he is not eligible for an office in the US! SY

  15. Good things to keep in mind while doing blogging especially i like the 3rd one regarding content. Content should be relevant if you want to do good blogging and unique too.

  16. Iyenk says:

    I think “Make Your Content Relevant” and “Implement Web Technology and Social Media” is the best point..

  17. I think “be honest” and “stick to your promises” would be the most important ones! SY

  18. Gold Party says:

    Thanks for the helpful hints!! Do you find that readers respond better to certain tactics or is it the combination of tactics that works?

  19. oes tsetnoc says:

    I look forward to seeing your new squeeze theme based site is best

  20. I like the “practice sincerity” tip. Sounds like campaigning so long as you appear sincere that’s good enough.

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